Imperial China and the State Cult of Confucius...

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Book Details

Author  Leon E. Stover
Publisher  Mcfarland & Co Inc Pub
Publication Date   December 2, 2004
ISBN  0786417714
Pages  208

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Description

Initiated during the Former Han Dynasty in 136 B.C., the state cult of Confucius endured for 2407 years as the civil religion of a vast empire that ever-renewed itself despite periodic disunity and barbarian conquests. This was a weak agrarian state whose foundation was a Neolithic peasantry, whose archaic state-idea traces to the dawn of Chinese civilization, and whose ruling elite earned its credentials in civil service examinations based on classic Confucianism dating to pre-imperial times - all centered on the political thinking of a late Bronze Age philosopher. This work explores the political logic of old China's archaic civilization, where court protocol was the very essence of a liturgical government whose philosophical basis rested on the scriptural authority of Confucian teachings. Here is the historical paradox (vast empire, weak state) resolved in this book. By looking into the state cult of Confucius and its origins, the illogical begins to look reasonable for the pre-modern conditions of antiquity. Over 100 photographs and drawings are included, along with an appendix covering the Great Chinese Museum of New York.

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